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China Earth Transportation News

Helicopter Rescue For All Passengers Aboard Antarctic Research Ship 168

Posted by timothy
from the who-pays-for-all-that-rescuing? dept.
The BBC reports (with video) that all aboard the ice-trapped MV Akademik Shokalskiy have been rescued by helicopter, after more than one icebreaker attempt to reach the vessel directly proved too challenging. Also at the New York Times, which reports "The twin-rotored helicopter, based on a Chinese icebreaker, the Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, flew several sorties across miles of packed ice to pluck scientists, tourists and journalists from a makeshift landing zone next to the marooned MV Akademik Shokalskiy research vessel."
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Helicopter Rescue For All Passengers Aboard Antarctic Research Ship

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  • GJ (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 02, 2014 @11:27AM (#45845893)

    I love good news, it's a shame there is not more of it.

  • LOL (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @11:28AM (#45845903)

    So I was watching this whole thing on the news and they never mentioned once that this expedition was meant to show the melting ice and such in hopes of showing the effects of global warming on the icepack. Now, I do believe Global warming is a thing... and we need to deal with it. But the clear bias by the media outlets isn't doing anyone any favors.

    • Re:LOL (Score:5, Informative)

      by OzPeter (195038) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @11:33AM (#45845953)

      So I was watching this whole thing on the news and they never mentioned once that this expedition was meant to show the melting ice and such in hopes of showing the effects of global warming on the icepack.

      I'd suggest that you change the news outlets that you read/watch. Plenty of places reported the aim of the scientific experiments.

  • by RogueWarrior65 (678876) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @11:32AM (#45845937)

    The sub-tag "who-pays-for-all-that-rescuing?" has me wondering if they boat people are planning to pay with carbon credits. I have to say, though, that all climate science debating aside, it's pretty clever to turn one of the most abundant elements in the galaxy into a currency. It reminds me of a plot point in one of Neal Stephenson's books where a character stockpiles shells to use as currency only to find out that nobody else considers them valuable.

    • by slim (1652)

      Except that with Carbon Credits, carbon is a negative currency, sort of because it's abundant.

      I doubt that this expedition was involved in any kind of Kyoto Protocol emission allowance trading.

      However, it's not that unlikely that they'd have balanced the expedition's emissions with a voluntary offset scheme (a donation toward tree planting, renewable power source building, etc.)

    • I wonder what the carbon footprint of this whole GW expedition and its rescues are?
    • by tompaulco (629533)
      I would assume the insurance company of the expedition.
  • by Stolpskott (2422670) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @11:35AM (#45845975)

    Seeing as how the BBC article clearly mentions that the "Passengers" (aka Researchers) on the ship have been rescued, but that the crew members of the ship are staying on board and could be stuck for several weeks, I hope the attention span of the people keeping an eye on the ship is a bit better than that of the /. editors, who had apparently forgotten that the crew exists before they reached the bottom of the article...

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)
      Well, the duty of the crew is to first off protect the passengers. After that their choice is either to remain with the ship (which is now much better off provision-wise with the passengers gone) to keep up routine and emergency maintenance, or abandon ship and have a good chance of loosing the vessel. But I am sure that the crew is remaining in contact with rescue or research stations in Antarctica, in case they do end up having to abandon ship. But the owner/insurer of the ship is going to want them to
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        loosing the vessel

        Well, if they could get it loose there wouldn't be a problem.

    • by Shimbo (100005)

      Seeing as how the BBC article clearly mentions that the "Passengers" (aka Researchers) on the ship have been rescued.

      Passengers is more accurate than researchers, because some of them were paying tourists. Given there were 52, quite probably the majority were tourists and guides.

    • Cheers for the crew! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by coder111 (912060) <coder@rrmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday January 02, 2014 @12:19PM (#45846443)
      While the world watches the researchers and tourists being "rescued", these guys stay to save the ship if that is at all possible. These are the guys who are doing all the work and should be getting all of the attention and respect they deserve.

      --Coder
    • Don't worry about the crew. They'll be fine. Getting stuck in the ice for weeks or months is par for the course down there. Seriously. This whole episode was only remotely newsworthy because they had a large number of passengers and perhaps not enough food for a long-term stay with comfortably-sized rations.

      I just read the book about Ernest Shackleton's voyage [wikipedia.org], and their epic journey really puts this stuck vessel in perspective. Dudes were in a wooden ship that got stuck in that ice and the hull was crushe
  • by torsmo (1301691) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @11:46AM (#45846087)
    ...took Xue Long to rescue them.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    There's about as much research in that ship as in the Japanese "whale research" fleet that for some mysterious reason needs to test and re-test the deliciousness of whale meat every year..

    It's a damn 'eco tourist' (i.e. green-washed) cruise. Not to mention the fact that, being a Russian ship, they're probably dumping toilet water and bilge oil directly into the sea..

    I bet the taxpayers are happy about their tax dollars going to rescue this group of clowns ;-)

    • by mpe (36238)
      There's about as much research in that ship as in the Japanese "whale research" fleet that for some mysterious reason needs to test and re-test the deliciousness of whale meat every year..

      Possibly more going on those ships. Since, AFAIK, the Japanese have never used the oxymoron "settled science".
  • by JoeCommodore (567479) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Thursday January 02, 2014 @12:05PM (#45846303) Homepage

    Makes me want to break out an emulator and play a few rounds of Choplifter. :-)

  • Is it stuck in the ice "forever"? Or will the Antarctic "summer" experience enough of a breakup in the ice pack to get an icebreaker in to free it?

    If it is stuck for the long term, is it any environmental risk of a hull breech from the ice causing leaks, etc, or is the hull strong enough that it won't get crushed, it'll just sit there until the hull rusts out?

  • ...does anyone know how this works, as far as who pays for these ships supplies? I mean, I understand a little about how scientific research gets paid for - it's usually private funding mixed with some governmental funding. But when an expedition such as this goes south (no pun intended), who pays for the other ships/helicopter to come save them?
    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      I'm going to take a guess that insurance company that insures vessel in trouble deals with these costs.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 02, 2014 @01:37PM (#45847343)

      The rescuers pay for the cost of the rescues. Rescues at sea are a no-cost agreement under maritime conventions and traditions.

      Some US politicians raised questions about this practice after costly rescue operations for Carnival cruise ships last year.

      http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/carnival-u-s-won-reimbursed-triumph-costs-article-1.1315792

      • Wow, I had no idea. So if you're stuck at sea, regardless of your nationality, or where you are, the rest of the world has an obligation to help you. Fuck, imagine if that same rational humane ideal carried through on land, throughout all situations, throughout all circumstances - rather than from sea captain to sea captain, but from human to human. Queue John Lennon Imagine [youtube.com]...
        • by slew (2918)

          Although under maritime conventions, the cost of rescuing people entails no obligation of reimbursement, freeing boat from ice might be considered a salvage operation. If so, the costs for freeing the boat from the ice may mean that the owners of the boat might be liable for the cost of any salvage operation (if successful) maybe even up to 50% of the value of the boat.

  • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @01:35PM (#45847331) Journal

    from the article:

    The 233-foot Russian research ship had been lodged in the ice since Dec. 24, when powerful winds encircled it with pack ice near Cape de la Motte, about 1,700 miles south of Hobart, Tasmania.

    Navigating pack ice is like wandering through a labyrinth where the walls periodically move.

  • by westlake (615356) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @02:10PM (#45847769)
    Interior views and deck plans here: Expedition Vessel: Akademik Shokalskiy [expeditionsonline.com]

    Classification: Russian register KM ice class
    Year built: 1984
    Accommodation: 50 berths expedition, 30 crew
    Shipyard: Finland
    Main engines: power 2x1560 bhp (2x 1147 Kw) Register: Russia
    Maximum speed: 12 knots (2 engines)
    Cruising speed: 10 knots(one engine)
    Bunker capacity: 320 tons

  • Who's paying for the rescue?

    I mean, not that China's all capitalist or anything, but they should have their costs covered by someone responsible for this pack of morons.

    (I'm one of those crazy people that believe that people who put themselves into extreme situations like mountain climbers (or their inheritors), etc should indeed pay for the extraordinary costs of their rescues or rescue-attempts.)

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